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Saudi Arabia Tells its Citizens in Lebanon to Return

A man reads a newspaper in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 5, 2017.

Saudi Arabia has asked its citizens in Lebanon to leave the country as soon as possible.

A foreign ministry source quoted Thursday by the Kingdom's official news agency said, "Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing" there to leave as soon as possible.

Riyadh has also discouraged its citizens from traveling to the neighbor country in the wake of Lebanon's prime minister announcing his resignation Saturday during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia supported Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his allies during years of political conflict in Lebanon with Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Hariri's departure is widely seen as imposed by his backers in the Saudi Arabian monarchy in reaction to the growing influence of Shiite Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah in the region. Riyadh denies the claims it forced Hariri to resign.